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  1. #1
    SitePoint Wizard
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    Broken Site when JS is turned off

    I'm a proJS enabler, meaning that I assume the visitors to have JS turned on! Many cries out loud "Your site sucks because I can't access your site when I turned off JS". So, I did some research on what sites that malfunction when JS is turned off. Please keep in mind I only tested 1~2 min each per site.

    1. Facebook - Messages
    Can not see messages at all

    2. Youtube - Add/Remove Modules
    Gets stuck at "Load ..." screen

    3. Blogger - clicked on this text "Try the template designer"
    Gets stuck at blank screen

    4. Twitter - Top Tweets
    Can not see top tweets on home page

    So! When these major players obviously have JavaScript crutch, can we assume that making a site that requires JS is acceptable? Because of this, I am thinking of making 100% AJAX site.

  2. #2
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    It depends. What are your accessibility requirements? Screen readers have a tendency to not work with javascript.

  3. #3
    Programming Since 1978 silver trophybronze trophy felgall's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sg707 View Post
    So! When these major players obviously have JavaScript crutch, can we assume that making a site that requires JS is acceptable? Because of this, I am thinking of making 100% AJAX site.
    Sites like that soon get fixed once they are threatened with legal action by a disabled person who is unable to use sites with JavaScript enabled and therefore requires a version that works without it.

    On average around 5-10% of web users have JavaScript disabled either permanently or a lot of the time (those using Firefox or Opera can turn it on and off on a page by page or site by site basis).

    If you don't provide an alternative for those without JavaScript then those 5-10% of possible visitors will go elsewhere and possibly convince their friends to go elsewhere as well giving you a much smaller audience than you would otherwise have. Where going elsewhere is not an option there is a greater possibility that those who don't have the option to use JavaScript will consider legal action.

    Also with the growing number of annoying scripts that interfere with peoples being able to use the web the weay they want there is a growing tendency for people to have JavaScript turned off.
    Stephen J Chapman

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  4. #4
    Mouse catcher silver trophy Stevie D's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sg707 View Post
    So! When these major players obviously have JavaScript crutch, can we assume that making a site that requires JS is acceptable? Because of this, I am thinking of making 100% AJAX site.
    Are you saying your site is as good as Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and Blogger?

    Those sites have succeeded despite poor accessibility, because they have a large/monopoly position combined with a killer application. If you reckon your site meets those targets (and you have a few million in the bank for when you get sued), maybe you can afford not to worry about accessibility.

    The reality is that for most of us, we can't afford the luxury of turning away potential visitors by laziness or a lack of consideration for their needs. When I write a website, I want it to appeal and be accessible to as many people as possible - and sometimes that means putting in a little extra effort to provide a more accessible route than the hi-tech one that I direct most people to.

    And then there's the moral dimension. Many of the people who browse without Javascript active have some form of disability or impairment and so are using assistive technology, which doesn't always support Javascript fully or even at all. Do you really feel comfortable telling those people that they aren't worthy enough to look at your website?

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stevie D View Post
    Are you saying your site is as good as Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and Blogger?

    Those sites have succeeded despite poor accessibility, because they have a large/monopoly position combined with a killer application. If you reckon your site meets those targets (and you have a few million in the bank for when you get sued), maybe you can afford not to worry about accessibility.

    The reality is that for most of us, we can't afford the luxury of turning away potential visitors by laziness or a lack of consideration for their needs. When I write a website, I want it to appeal and be accessible to as many people as possible - and sometimes that means putting in a little extra effort to provide a more accessible route than the hi-tech one that I direct most people to.

    And then there's the moral dimension. Many of the people who browse without Javascript active have some form of disability or impairment and so are using assistive technology, which doesn't always support Javascript fully or even at all. Do you really feel comfortable telling those people that they aren't worthy enough to look at your website?
    No way! I don't think my sites will ever get that popular...then again...maybe. I don't think anyone is confident to have many visitors on a start up. Also, I don't think people can sue over a free site because of accessiblity issue. It's a free site, don't like then don't use it. The reason I bring this up is that by making the site JSFree, it eliminates creative ideas to improve useablity. Look at M$ trying to deploy Office online, think that's possible w/o using the JavaScript? I think not. Also, I don't think they'll get sue over a free service. Still, I do agree that accessibility comes to a picture when there's legal issue. For example, making an gov't internal web applications. But, I don't think it's a legal issue when it's available for free public site.

  6. #6
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    There's nothing saying that you have to make the site Javascript free. Javascript, however, should be used to enhance a site and not rely on it for something to work. A database could be queried with PHP, and if Javascript is available, then use AJAX instead as an example.

  7. #7
    Programming Since 1978 silver trophybronze trophy felgall's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sg707 View Post
    But, I don't think it's a legal issue when it's available for free public site.
    It is if a blind person decides that you are discriminating against them - then they can take you to court under anti-discrimination laws.

    You are right though that a free site where there are dozens of alternative sites that provide the same info/functionality without JavaScript isn't going to get sued - because most visitors will use one of the more accessible alternative sites instead.
    Stephen J Chapman

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  8. #8
    Mouse catcher silver trophy Stevie D's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sg707 View Post
    The reason I bring this up is that by making the site JSFree, it eliminates creative ideas to improve useablity.
    "Accessible without Javascript" isn't the same as "no Javascript".

    On one of my websites, I have the following pieces of Javascript:
    • Smooth scrolling - when you click an in-page link, rather than just flashing straight to the bookmark, it scrolls through the page to get to it. It looks nice, and it helps people orientate themselves within the site - they now know they are still on the same page, rather than the potential confusion of thinking they've gone to a new page
      If Javascript is off, internal links work as normal
    • Contact form opens in a new window. I know it isn't best practice, but my reason for doing so is that it enables me to see what page the visitor was looking at before clicking "Contact me", and I haven't found a way to do this without opening in a new window.
      If Javascript is off, the link opens in the same window
    • Making an entire <div> clickable in a 'teaser' type page, without the need for lots of ugly <a> elements and effort on getting the styling right.
      If Javascript is off, the headline is clickable with a regular <a href>
    • Hiding unwanted rows in a series of tables.
      If Javascript is off, they just have to look at the whole table
    • Google Ads
      If Javascript is off, they can't give me money
    • A quick jump navigation list
      If Javascript of off, there is a slightly more long-winded navigation process using regular <a href>s


    In all of those cases the use of Javascript enhances the visitor's experience, but the absence of Javascript doesn't prevent them from fully accessing all areas of the site.

  9. #9
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    Perhaps for a simple site, you can make it Accessible w/o Javascript. For example, let say you're making desktop like applications like GDoc and online office applications. Another example is Yahoo Mail. When you try to use it w/ JS turned off it asks you to use the old version of their email application. This is what it says

    "Please enable Javascript for your browser, or you can proceed to a non-JavaScript version of Yahoo! Mail with limited functionality."

    So you guys think they are wrong? I believe GMail is done the same way.

  10. #10
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    Also, where are you guys getting 10&#37; of the user not using JavaScript? I doubt this is true. Imagine YouTube, Facebook sacrificing 10% of their revenue? I don't think they are that stupid.

  11. #11
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    I was curious about people suing the sites for inaccessiblity. Yes, people really did! this was for target.com

    http://news.cnet.com/2100-1030_3-6038123.html

    Result:
    federal appeals court ruled that Web publishers are not required to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act

  12. #12
    Programming Since 1978 silver trophybronze trophy felgall's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sg707 View Post
    Also, where are you guys getting 10&#37; of the user not using JavaScript? I doubt this is true. Imagine YouTube, Facebook sacrificing 10% of their revenue? I don't think they are that stupid.
    Look up and published stats on this and you will find that just about all of them quote figures between 5 and 10 percent of visitors not having JavaScript enabled. Those sites at the low end of the range with only 5% not having JavaScript are technical sites about JavaScript itself where you'd expect the percentage to be lower than the average.

    What percentage of mobile phones have JavaScript support in the built in briwser?

    What percentage of web reader software can handle JavaScript in a usable manner so that the person listening can tell what changes JavaScript has made to the page?

    Check the stats based on the server logs of your own server and you will see figures there of somewhere between 5 and 10%. Of course if you only check stats such as Google Analytics then those stats completely exclude any of your visitors without JavaScript and so will be somewhere between 5 and 10% out in the numbers reported.

    A large percentage of those without JavaScript have no way to enable it with the way that they are accessing the internet. Insisting that they should be able to is equivalent to insisting that your car should be able to fly if you drive it off a cliff. Their browser has no more capability to run JavaScript than your car does to grow wings.

    As far as a site like youtube not supporting people without JavaScript that's fairly minor considering that there will be a much bigger group unable to view the videos there and that most of those without JavaScript will be a subset of that group. Since those without video capability are not a part of youtubes target market that many of those who can't use the site don't have JavaScript is irrelevant. The nature of the site requires a video capable browser and all of those will support JavaScript.
    Stephen J Chapman

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  13. #13
    SitePoint Wizard rguy84's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sperlock View Post
    <snip>if Javascript is available, then use AJAX instead as an example.
    lol that is the funniest thing I heard all day. AJAX raises the inaccessibility bar at times.
    Ryan B | My Blog | Twitter

  14. #14
    SitePoint Wizard Stomme poes's Avatar
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    What percentage of web reader software can handle JavaScript in a usable manner so that the person listening can tell what changes JavaScript has made to the page?
    Dunno, but more screen reader users have Javascript on than off.

    However the slightly older readers suck balls at knowing you've done something like adding content to the page (typically AJAX). The Big 2 for Windows user a virtual buffer. It's like an interactive screenshot of the web page. The reader has to know a Javascript event has taken place, and update the virtual buffer in order to show the user what's changed. If the change is above where the user's focus is, then it depends on if the reader will bring the user's focus to the new thing, or tell that there's something new (there are ARIA attributes that do this, where you can even set the "politeness" level for how much you should bother the user in letting them know there's been a change on the page)... with older readers, either the buffer isn't updated, or it is but the user is unaware of any change on the page.

    Also a consideration for users with screen magnifyers, who may or may not use a screen reader with the magnifyer... you make a change on some other part of the page, the user is oblivious (because they are viewing a part of your page about the size of a credit card or smaller).

    If you sit on a mailing list for those who try to use these various sites with their AT, you'll find they are often frustrated, but they also find strange and creative ways to get stuff to work for them... also there's always lots of gossip about what programs can make accessible (or just better on a non-Desktop) various sites (twitter is a good example... like TTYtter, Quitter, Jawter, and Twitter command-line).

    There are programs for YouTube but they do (of course) require Flash player (how else do you play movies? Which is the whole point of YouTube) and Javascript, but the program works way better.

    Strangely, logging into YouTube does not require Javascript. Logging out, however, does. Someone didn't do their server homework. : D

  15. #15
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    If your browser supports HTML5 then you can play video's on the Youtube w/o Flash.

    With all these very popular app not being JavaScriptLess compliant, I'm leaning more toward their idea as well. I can understand that some browsers does not have the capability to have JavaScript for certain mobile phones or browsers. However, I think they would have other problem then just JavaScript. If the mobile phone does not have zoom feature then do I need to display specific format for that phone? I think not. Maybe it can be accessible but it may be not readable or even be usable.

  16. #16
    Programming Since 1978 silver trophybronze trophy felgall's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sg707 View Post
    With all these very popular app not being JavaScriptLess compliant, I'm leaning more toward their idea as well.
    You should ALWAYS texst your web page works before you start adding JavaScript to it.

    There are some apps that require JavaScript in order to work at all but since many of those apps have been written by people who don't know how to write JavaScript and so don't work properly even with JavaScript enabled they are best avoided. Even where they do work properly with JavaScript enabled there are always better free alternatives you can install on your own computer that will do the same job more efficiently without using up your internet bandwidth.
    Stephen J Chapman

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  17. #17
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    Perhaps this is the point where people draw the line. I think you're looking at JavaScript to improve the User Interface only. Meaning, it can work without it but if you have it on then usability would increase, right?

    However, there are many talented programmers who utilize JavaScript as a functionality. Example would be AJAX chat, real time collaboration w/ other people. Recently, I discover this site https://www.kohive.com/ . To me this site is incredibly innovative. If they had to worry about people disabling JavaScript, then it can never happen.

  18. #18
    Programming Since 1978 silver trophybronze trophy felgall's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sg707 View Post
    Example would be AJAX chat, real time collaboration w/ other people.
    An excellent example of where a separate program installed on your computer is a far better alternative.
    Stephen J Chapman

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  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by felgall View Post
    An excellent example of where a separate program installed on your computer is a far better alternative.
    Because.......?

  20. #20
    SitePoint Wizard rguy84's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sg707 View Post
    Because.......?
    Pretty sure Stephen would point to reply 16.
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  21. #21
    Programming Since 1978 silver trophybronze trophy felgall's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sg707 View Post
    Because.......?
    Because a compiled program running on your computer will be much faster than a scripting language running on the web. Plus approx 10% of people don't have JavaScript.

    Also with a chat program running on your computer it can use the correct port that chat programs use rather than clogging the web port withchat.
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  22. #22
    SitePoint Wizard donboe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by felgall View Post
    Because a compiled program running on your computer will be much faster than a scripting language running on the web. Plus approx 10% of people don't have JavaScript.
    I thought it was less? This are figures from W3schools with Javascript figures updated till 2008 W3Schools

  23. #23
    SitePoint Wizard rguy84's Avatar
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    A computer program has to do less than what something like it on the web
    Ryan B | My Blog | Twitter

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by felgall View Post
    Because a compiled program running on your computer will be much faster than a scripting language running on the web. Plus approx 10% of people don't have JavaScript.

    Also with a chat program running on your computer it can use the correct port that chat programs use rather than clogging the web port withchat.
    So you're saying that all Web Application that aims to be Desktop feel are totally wrong? Google Email, Google Doc, Online collaboration tool, online office tools are all wrong?

  25. #25
    Programming Since 1978 silver trophybronze trophy felgall's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sg707 View Post
    So you're saying that all Web Application that aims to be Desktop feel are totally wrong? Google Email, Google Doc, Online collaboration tool, online office tools are all wrong?
    No - that sort of thing might be useful if they ever get any of them to actually work - unfortunately all of the ones you mention are all broken because Google hasn't employed anyone who knows how to write JavaScript.

    Even if they did work the only benefit they'd have over a downloaded application is that you don't need to download anything in order to use the application.

    There are quite a few working JavaScript based applications you can download that do work - using Adobe Air. That environment also ensures that you can't turn JavaScript off.
    Stephen J Chapman

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